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FM: China Making Every Effort to End Somalia Hijacking
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China is doing all it can to bring an end to the hijacking of two Korean fishing vessels off the coast of Somalia on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told the press yesterday, adding that Chinese authorities were liaising with other countries to secure the safe release of the Korean crew members.

An unidentified armed group, believed to be Somali pirates, boarded and captured the Yemen-bound fishing trawlers christened Mavuno I and Mavuno II.

The 22 crew members, including 10 Chinese, were aboard the ships owned by South Korea's Daechang Fishing Company when the attack happened on Tuesday about 210 nautical miles (about 389 km) off the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

As for the Dalai Lama, Jiang reiterated a call for all governments and parties to beware his words and actions and to offer no help for his separatist inclinations as reports emerged that the Dalai Lama was set to visit the Australian capital, Canberra, from June 6 to 16, where he might meet with Prime Minister John Howard. 

The Dalai Lama's words and actions demonstrate that he is not only a religious figure but a political leader of a certain separatist group, said Jiang.

The Dalai Lama represents forces advocating Tibet's "independence," which is resolutely opposed by the central government and people, stated the spokesperson, as reports surfaced earlier this week that a Tibet "independence" group has expressed an interest in competing in the Beijing Olympic Games next year.

Jiang's reaction was firm, saying that "the Chinese people and government are devoted to the preparation for the Olympic Games in 2008.We are opposed to attempt to link the Olympic Games with politics."

Asked to comment on former French President Jacques Chirac's contribution to Sino-French relationship, Jiang hailed Chirac as an old friend of China who contributed highly to bilateral ties during his 12 years in office. She added that China would strive to push forward the strategic partnership with Nicolas Sarkozy's new government.

Turning to the annual board meetings of the African Development Bank (ADB) in Shanghai, Jiang highlighted that China-Africa cooperation is a cornerstone of China's foreign policy.

"China's assistance to Africa is sincere and without political conditions. We would like to work with the international community to promote cooperation with Africa," Jiang said. "The development of Africa will rely on the continent's own strength but will be greatly accelerated with help from the international community," she said.

Currently, five African nations have no diplomatic relations with China, but Jiang highlighted that this has not affected personnel exchanges with China. China stands ready to normalize relations with these nations at any point, based on the five principles of peaceful coexistence, Jiang said. The five countries in question are: Burkina Faso, Malawi, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Swaziland.

Turning to the search for the 16 missing sailors after the collision between a Korean vessel and a Chinese freighter on Saturday, Jiang said the investigation is still ongoing.

The South Korean ship Golden Rose sank off the coast east China's Shandong Province, after colliding with the Saint Vincent-registered "Jinsheng," a container ship operated by Shandong Lufeng Shipping Company Ltd.

Jiang said the Chinese government has launched a massive search-and-rescue operation and has invited South Korean elements to join the mission.

Addressing civil unrest in Pakistan, Jiang said the Chinese government believes that the Pakistani officials and people will be able to properly stem the violence in their country.
Rival political factions fought in the streets of Karachi on May 12 when the suspended but popular chief justice arrived in the city, leaving 30 dead and scores wounded.

"China, as Pakistan's friendly neighboring nation, is closely monitoring the current situation in Pakistan," Jiang said.

In another development, Jiang touched upon Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei's with Kyoko Nakayama, assistant to the Japanese prime minister in Beijing on Thursday, specifying that the two discussed bilateral ties and the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
Jiang said Kyoko was invited by the Japanese embassy in China and she is also set to meet Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo late on Thursday.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry on Tuesday repeated that it would fully implement the February 13 agreement once it had received all the US$25 million frozen in Macao's Banco Delta Asia.

Jiang called once again upon all parties to make sure the initial actions of the February 13 agreement are swiftly implemented, to show their willingness at securing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

Jiang also revealed that that German President Horst Koehler would pay an official viist to China from May 23 to 26 at the invitation of President Hu Jintao.

Furthermore, Croatian Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic has accepted Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's invitation to come to China from May 20 to 23.

(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily May 18, 2007)

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